I abhor political campaign ads, so I tend to ignore them. However, there is a rare exception that strikes me in a way that I give it some of my attention. Case-in-point, Rick Berg’s ad that features four older ladies at a diner lamenting that Heidi Heitkamp can’t be trusted because of things she has said and done. The ad concludes with the following statements: “That’s just not the North Dakota way. We just can’t trust Heidi Heitkamp.” Raise your hand if you have seen this commercial and rolled your eyes. Raise both hands if you audibly moaned or groaned.
I don’t care what party you align with or what candidate you support – you have to admit, that commercial sets back the whole state of North Dakota. I halfway expect to see it lambasted by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show - it begs for such treatment.
It appears the commercial was trying to hit the senior community with a message that Rick Berg gets what North Dakota is about while Heidi Heitkamp doesn’t, but I think it backfires on him. I think by putting out a commercial like that he evidences that he doesn’t appreciate all the nuances of the state’s identity and shows that he doesn’t get what North Dakota is about. As evidence of my statement I present to the jury all those folks out there right now holding up one or both hands…they too have something to say about the North Dakota way.
The ladies in the commercial never do go on to say what is the North Dakota way, they only make clear that it isn’t the way Heidi does business (i.e., she attacks Rick Berg, she supports things like Obamacare, and has said Obama is “amazing”). This leads me to believe that the North Dakota way is defined in part as a place where: 1) folks do not say negative things about Rick Berg; 2) folks do not support Obamacare; and, 3) folks do not think Obama is amazing.
Whoa…slow down. Are you saying that the North Dakota way is for folks to all hold the same opinion of programs and people? I am a recent transplant to North Dakota (only 15 years in the state), but I am going to extend myself and say – I don’t think that is the North Dakota way.
These are the days when I wish I had the time, energy, and money to make up my own political ads for average citizens who are sick of politics as usual. Oh the fun I could have with that! I would love to mish-mash both Berg’s and Heitkamp’s ads together in a perverse mix that illuminates how tired us regular folks are with all the finger pointing. Perhaps then the candidates would realize how ridiculous the whole effort has become.
I have a proposition for all the folks running campaign ads in North Dakota: run ads that tell us what you plan to do about key issues that matter to the citizens of North Dakota – be frank and concise and avoid talking down the other candidate. That is what I would call the North Dakota way to do things.
Day one thousand one hundred and twenty-one of the new forty – obla di obla da